The question before us is whether a federal district court has discretion under the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction to remand a properly removed case to state court when all federal-law claims in the action have been eliminated and only pendent state-law claims remain.
Respondents, William and Carrie Boyle, commenced this action by filing a complaint against petitioners, Carnegie-Mellon University (CMU) and John Kordesich, in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. CMU is William Boyle's former employer; Kordesich is William Boyle's former supervisor. In the complaint, William Boyle charged CMU with violation of federal and state age-discrimination laws, wrongful discharge, breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and misrepresentation. He stated many of the same claims, as well as tortious interference with a contractual relationship, against Kordesich. Carrie Boyle claimed that these alleged wrongs had caused her to suffer a loss of consortium, loss of companionship, and loss of her husband's household services. All of respondents' claims arose from CMU's discharge of William Boyle.
Petitioners removed the case from state court to the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania under 28 U. S. C. § 1441(a), which allows a defendant to remove an action that falls within the original jurisdiction of the federal district courts.
Six months later, respondents moved to amend their complaint to delete the allegations of age discrimination and defamation and the request for damages for loss of consortium. In this motion, respondents stated that they now believed these claims were not tenable. At the same time, respondents filed a motion, conditional upon amendment of the complaint, to remand the suit to state court. Respondents noted that the amendment would eliminate their sole federal-law claim, which had provided the basis for removal of the case, and argued that a remand to state court was appropriate in these circumstances.
After granting the motion to amend, the District Court remanded the remaining claims to the state court in which respondents initially had filed the action. Boyle v. Carnegie-Mellon University, Civ. Action No. 84-2285 (Oct. 10, 1985). In its opinion, the District Court first examined whether any provision of the federal removal statute, 28 U. S. C. §§ 1441-1451, supported a remand. The court noted that two sections of the statute authorize district courts to remand after removal. Under 28 U. S. C. § 1447(c), a court shall remand any case that "was removed improvidently and without jurisdiction";
Petitioners filed a petition for writ of mandamus with the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and a divided panel granted the petition.
The Court of Appeals granted respondents' petition for rehearing en banc and vacated the panel opinions and writ of mandamus. 41 FEP Cases 1888 (1986). After the rehearing, the en banc court divided evenly on the question whether the District Court had authority to remand respondents' case to state court. Civ. Action No. 85-3619 (Nov. 24, 1986). Accordingly, the court issued an order denying petitioners' application for a writ of mandamus. This order effectively left undisturbed the remand of respondents' case.
We granted certiorari, 479 U.S. 1083 (1987), to resolve the split among the Circuits as to whether a district court has discretion to remand a removed case to state court when all federal-law claims have dropped out of the action and only pendent state-law claims remain.
The modern doctrine of pendent jurisdiction stems from this Court's decision in Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715 (1966). Prior to Gibbs, this Court had recognized that considerations of judicial economy and procedural convenience justified the recognition of power in the federal courts to decide certain state-law claims involved in cases raising federal
At the same time, however, Gibbs drew a distinction between the power of a federal court to hear state-law claims and the discretionary exercise of that power. The Gibbs Court recognized that a federal court's determination of
In the case before us, respondents' complaint stated a single federal-law claim and a number of state-law claims. The state-law claims fell within the jurisdiction of the District Court to which the action was removed because they derived
This Court's crafting of the pendent jurisdiction doctrine in Gibbs strongly supports the conclusion that when a district court may relinquish jurisdiction over a removed case involving pendent claims, the court has discretion to remand the case to state court. Gibbs itself does not directly address this issue; because the plaintiff in Gibbs filed his suit in federal court, remand was not an option in the case, and the Court spoke only of dismissal. But Gibbs establishes that the pendent jurisdiction doctrine is designed to enable courts to handle cases involving state-law claims in the way that will best accommodate the values of economy, convenience, fairness, and comity, and Gibbs further establishes that the Judicial Branch is to shape and apply the doctrine in that light. Because in some circumstances a remand of a removed case involving pendent claims will better accommodate these values than will dismissal of the case, the animating principle behind the pendent jurisdiction doctrine supports giving a district court discretion to remand when the exercise of pendent jurisdiction is inappropriate.
As many lower courts have noted,
Petitioners argue that the federal removal statute prohibits a district court from remanding properly removed cases involving pendent claims. This argument is based not on the language of Congress, but on its silence. Petitioners note that the removal statute explicitly authorizes remands in two situations. By failing similarly to provide for remands of removed cases involving pendent claims, petitioners assert, Congress intended to preclude district courts from remanding such cases.
Indeed, one section of the removal statute strongly suggests that had Congress decided to address the proper disposition of removed cases involving pendent claims, Congress would have authorized the district courts to remand them. In 28 U. S. C. § 1441(c), Congress dealt with the situation in which a claim that would be removable if sued upon alone is joined with one or more "separate and independent" claims that are not themselves removable. The section provides that the entire case may be removed and that the district court, in its discretion, may either adjudicate all claims in the suit or remand the independently nonremovable claims. See n. 3, supra. This section is not directly applicable to suits involving pendent claims, because pendent claims are not "separate and independent" within the meaning of the removal statute. See American Fire & Casualty Co. v. Finn, 341 U.S. 6, 12-14 (1951) (interpreting the "separate and independent" clause). The section, however, clearly manifests a belief that when a court has discretionary jurisdiction over a removed state-law claim and the court chooses not to exercise
As petitioners point out, this Court's opinion in Thermtron Products, Inc. v. Hermansdorfer, 423 U.S. 336 (1976), contains some language that could be read to support the opposite conclusion. In Thermtron, a District Court remanded a properly removed case to state court on the ground that the federal docket was overcrowded. This Court held that the remand was improper. In so doing, the Court stated several times that a district court may not remand a case to a state court on a ground not specified in the removal statute. See id., at 345. See also id., at 345, n. 9 ("Lower federal courts have uniformly held that cases properly removed from state to federal court within the federal court's jurisdiction may not be remanded for discretionary reasons not authorized by the controlling statute"); id., at 351 ("[W]e are not convinced that Congress ever intended to extend carte blanche authority to the district courts to revise the federal statutes governing removal by remanding cases on grounds that seem justifiable to them but which are not recognized by the controlling statute"). Petitioners, again noting that the removal statute does not explicitly authorize the remand of cases involving pendent state-law claims, argue that Thermtron thus compels a holding that such remands are impermissible.
The language from Thermtron that petitioners cite, viewed in isolation, is admittedly far-reaching, but it loses controlling force when read against the circumstances of that case. The
We conclude that a district court has discretion to remand to state court a removed case involving pendent claims upon a proper determination that retaining jurisdiction over the case would be inappropriate. The discretion to remand enables district courts to deal with cases involving pendent claims in the manner that best serves the principles of economy, convenience, fairness, and comity which underlie the pendent jurisdiction doctrine. Such discretion is precluded neither by the removal statute nor by our decision in Thermtron. We therefore affirm the decision below denying the petition for a writ of mandamus.
It is so ordered.
The Court today discovers an inherent power in the federal judiciary to remand properly removed cases to state court for reasons of "economy, convenience, fairness, and comity." Ante, at 351. Because I continue to believe that cases may be remanded only for reasons authorized by statute, see Thermtron Products, Inc. v. Hermansdorfer, 423 U.S. 336, 342 (1976), I dissent.
Respondents William and Carrie Boyle brought suit in Pennsylvania state court against William Boyle's former employer and supervisor, petitioners Carnegie-Mellon University and William Kordesich, stating claims under both state law and the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U. S. C. § 626(c)(1). The case was removed to the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania pursuant to 28 U. S. C. § 1441 on the basis of the federal ADEA claim. The Boyles did not contest the removal or move to remand at that time.
After some six months of discovery, the Boyles moved to delete their age discrimination claim and to remand the case to state court, explaining that their age discrimination claim had proved to be "not tenable." Apparently, the Boyles had only then discovered that their failure to file a timely age discrimination charge with a federal or state agency precluded them from asserting a claim under the ADEA. See 29 U. S. C. §§ 626(d), 633(b). Counsel for the Boyles explained before this Court that his principal reason for seeking the remand was to avoid a prompt trial on the state claims. Tr. of Oral Arg. 28-29. He perceived that the opportunities for extracting a favorable settlement from Carnegie-Mellon would be greater if the case were remanded, because the state court dockets in Allegheny County were considerably more congested than the federal court dockets in the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Carnegie-Mellon then petitioned for a writ of mandamus from the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. A divided panel granted the petition and directed the District Court to vacate its remand order. The panel concluded that the District Court was foreclosed by this Court's decision in Thermtron from remanding cases to state courts for reasons not specified in a federal statute.
The Court of Appeals reheard the matter en banc. An equally divided court denied Carnegie-Mellon's petition for a writ of mandamus.
This Court has now affirmed. The Court holds that the pendent jurisdiction doctrine set forth in Gibbs allows federal judges to remand a properly removed case to state court whenever all federal claims have been deleted. There is no statutory basis for this holding. But the Court discovers an inherent authority to remand whenever a federal judge decides that "the values of economy, convenience, fairness, and comity" would thereby be served. This result is inconsistent with Congress' understanding of the federal courts' remand authority as well as with the precedents of this Court.
Congress has enacted two statutory provisions governing remands from federal court to state court: 28 U. S. C. § 1447(c), which requires the remand of cases removed "improvidently and without jurisdiction," and 28 U. S. C. § 1441 (c), which permits the remand of "separate and independent" claims that are "not otherwise within [the district court's] original jurisdiction." The latter provision does not apply to
The Court rejects the foregoing argument on the ground that Congress has provided no express statutory authority for the dismissal of pendent claims. See ante, at 354. This ignores the very different origins of the power to dismiss and the power to remand. Courts have historically possessed an inherent power to dismiss suits for discretionary reasons such as failure to prosecute. See, e. g., Link v. Wabash R. Co., 370 U.S. 626, 629-631 (1962). The courts have not heretofore been recognized to possess any inherent power to remand.
In Thermtron, we held that a Federal District Judge had exceeded his authority in remanding a properly removed diversity action "on grounds not permitted by the controlling statute," 423 U. S., at 345, namely, that the case would be adjudicated more quickly in state court than in federal court. In support of this holding, we observed that "[l]ower federal courts have uniformly held that cases properly removed from
The decision today is also difficult to reconcile with St. Paul Mercury Indemnity Co. v. Red Cab Co., 303 U.S. 283 (1938), which held that a properly removed diversity action should not have been remanded to state court when the damages at issue later appeared to be less than the jurisdictional amount. In concluding that the status of the case at the time of removal was controlling, the Court reasoned:
To permit a plaintiff to "bring the cause back to the state court at his election" by voluntarily dismissing his federal claims, as the Court does today, will likewise subject "the defendant's supposed statutory right of removal . . . to the plaintiff's caprice." The Court has thereby provided a new tactical weapon to plaintiffs like the Boyles who may be less interested in securing a prompt trial on the merits than in causing the litigation to become so burdensome to the defendants that they will accede to a favorable settlement.
Nothing in Gibbs justifies the result reached today. The majority acknowledges that no "direc[t]" authority for today's holding can be found in Gibbs, which involved an action that had been filed initially in federal court. See ante, at 351. The Gibbs opinion did not even suggest any inherent power in the federal courts to remand pendent claims rather than to retain such claims or to dismiss them without prejudice. And no case here either before or after Gibbs provides any stronger support for today's holding.
The Court's decision has the peculiar result of treating plaintiffs who bring suit in federal court less favorably than plaintiffs who bring suit in state court. If the Boyles had commenced this suit in federal court and their federal claims were later dismissed, the Federal District Judge could only have dismissed the remaining pendent claims or decided those claims himself. Because the Boyles instead commenced this suit in state court, however, the District Judge had the additional option of ordering a remand. The principal advantage to plaintiffs of this third option is that their state claims are less likely to be dismissed as time barred.
There is some incongruity in the Court's invocation of federal-state "comity" in support of a holding whose principal effect will be to relieve plaintiffs from state statutes of limitations. See ante, at 352. It seems unnecessary for this Court to protect plaintiffs whose federal claims prove "not tenable" from the operation of state statutes of limitations when the States have shown themselves capable of achieving the same result through saving clauses similar to that enacted by Pennsylvania. See 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5535(a) (1982).
In sum, because I believe that any authority to remand properly removed pendent claims must come from Congress, I respectfully dissent.
"Except as otherwise expressly provided by Act of Congress, any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or the defendants, to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending."
"If at any time before final judgment it appears that the case was removed improvidently and without jurisdiction, the district court shall remand the case, and may order the payment of just costs."
"Whenever a separate and independent claim or cause of action, which would be removable if sued upon alone, is joined with one or more otherwise non-removable claims or causes of action, the entire case may be removed and the district court may determine all issues therein, or, in its discretion, may remand all matters not otherwise within its original jurisdiction."
The Court in Gibbs also indicated that these factors usually will favor a decision to relinquish jurisdiction when "state issues substantially predominate, whether in terms of proof, of the scope of the issues raised, or of the comprehensiveness of the remedy sought." 383 U. S., at 726.
In similar vein, the dissent argues that federal courts do not need discretion to remand because some States have saving clauses that alleviate the statute-of-limitations problem arising from the dismissal of cases. But the existence of such clauses in some States, while diminishing the reason for remand in particular cases, hardly reverses our general conclusion that the balance of factors to be weighed under Gibbs, considered in light of the range of state statutes of limitations, supports giving federal district courts the authority to remand cases involving pendent claims.